As I go about my day, travelling in the bus and walking long distances, I see people glued to their mobiles. I hear daughter-in-laws cribbing about their in-laws, employees cursing their bosses, people complaining about their maids, boyfriends maddened at their girlfriends – I rarely come across anything that is faintly positive. And whether I like it or not, I enter the murky territory of their personal truths. Unhappy, unappreciative and unapologetic – that’s the picture I get in my head.
My visit to the grocery store reveals another facet. As I walk past several rows to look for the humble Parle G biscuits, I see racks full of readymade food. These aren’t your good ol’ 2-minuters; they are proper meals packed with preservatives. Snip, simmer and serve – it doesn’t get more convenient than this. The packet mocks at the current state of life when it says ‘packed with love’. Is how we serve love these days – fast and fuss-free? No careful picking of the ingredients, no painful hours spent in the kitchen, no watchful eyes over the simmering gravy. No time to waste, just a tad compromise on taste – that’s how we do it?
And as I walk back home, listening to more venting of unhappy people and walking past many more packaged foods, I wonder – is this the life we wanted? We are wriggled away by time, controlled by economics and tied to our burdensome responsibilities. This is not how it was meant to be. This is not what we wanted from our job – more blood pressure and less time. This is not what we wanted from our social life – strained relationships and unhealthy opinions. This is not what we have been working towards as a species.
And if this is what we get in the name of progress, I’d rather be left behind.